the last part of the controversial reform comes into force

Contested, postponed, amended, the controversial unemployment insurance reform has had a very chaotic course. Almost two years after the start of its implementation, it takes another step, Wednesday 1is December, with the entry into force of its last part, tightening access to compensation.

The minimum working time to be compensated will increase from four to six months over the last twenty-four months (thirty-six months for those over 53). This will apply “to workers deprived of employment whose employment contract ends as of this date”, according to the decree published in Official newspaper. This new method of calculation – which does not concern job seekers already receiving compensation – will penalize job seekers alternating unemployment and activity, “Permits”.

This measure, already applied from November 2019 to July 2020, before being suspended by the crisis, was subject to a “return to better fortune” : a decrease of 130,000 unemployed over six months and 2.7 million hires for more than one month cumulatively over four months. These conditions were largely met on 1is October, with 239,000 fewer job seekers and 3.28 million hires, according to the Ministry of Labour.

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According to Unédic’s impact study carried out in April, this change from four to six months will lead during the first year of application to delay the granting of rights to 475,000 people, in particular young or seasonal workers who multiply short contracts (CDD or temporary assignments), often with the same employer.

But for the Minister of Labor, Elisabeth Borne, “the use of short contracts is a phenomenon largely independent of the economic situation” and is due to “actors’ habits”, which can be modified by adjusting the parameters of unemployment insurance. “The minimum duration of employment giving right to unemployment insurance directly influences the duration of the contracts offered by employers”, said Borne during a hearing in June in the Senate, which the unions hardly believe.

According to a comparative study by Unédic, France was, with four months, one of the most generous countries in Europe, but the joint body calls for ” The precaution “ as for the comparison, which should not be made on a single compensation parameter.

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Hardened degression of allowances

In accordance with the same clause of “return to better fortune”, the degressivity of benefits is tightened for employees under 57 who had an earned income of more than 4,500 euros gross per month (i.e. around 3,500 euros net). Since 1is July, this 30% degressivity applied from the ninth month (i.e. March 2022 in practice). It will now be at the end of the seventh month.

This measure, which will concern fewer people (60,000 people in 2022, according to Unédic) is considered “demagogic” and “inefficient” by the CFE-CGC executives union, at the forefront of the file. “France is one of the only countries to be so generous for high salaries in terms of compensation”, replies Elisabeth Borne.

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The Council of State had, as of November 2020, found nothing to complain about, neither on the degression nor on the opening of rights, judging it legitimate for the State to set thresholds, to the chagrin of the unions. They are still waiting, but without much hope, for the decision on the merits, in the coming days, from the highest administrative court on the reform of the calculation of unemployment benefit. But, given that the public rapporteur rejected the union arguments during the public hearing, Denis Gravouil (CGT) recognizes that ” it’s bad beginning “.

Two months after the entry into force of this measure, Pôle emploi has not communicated figures concerning the jobseekers affected by it, the effects of which will only be felt very gradually. “For the moment, we have no feedback at the user level. We may have some in December/January. Internally, it gets a little stuck for our IT system and the compensation advisers, who have to juggle several calculation rules”, explains David Vallaperta, CFDT representative at the central CSE of Pôle emploi.

According to Unédic, the overall reform of unemployment insurance should generate lower expenditure, of around 1.9 billion in 2022, then 2.2 billion in 2023.

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The World with AFP

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